F&B

10 Klang Valley Restaurants That Took The Risk Of Launching During The COVID-19 Pandemic

It’s a known fact that restaurants were suffering pretty badly during the MCO due to no dine-ins and unprofitable food deliveries.

Even during the CMCO and the current RMCO, where social distancing measures are limiting the number of dine-ins, it’s likely that restaurants haven’t bounced right back to their usual revenue numbers.

Despite the unstable business outlook, some F&B entrepreneurs still took a leap of faith and decided to launch completely new eateries.

From asking around and doing some research of our own, we narrowed down our list to feature 10 new F&B stores in Klang Valley.

Their launch dates vary from March 2020 to later, and none of them are chain restaurants or franchises.

1. Akâr Dining

Inside the restaurant, and one of their detailed dishes / Image Credit: Akâr Dining

This modern French fine dining restaurant opened on March 9 in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, just a week before the MCO on March 18.

When the MCO was first announced, the restaurant closed its doors in hopes to open again on March 31, using the time to regroup and enhance their plans to serve customers better.

However, when the MCO was later extended on March 24, the team quickly came up with and launched a limited edition takeaway menu of simpler meals.

Despite the challenges, Akâr Dining reopened its doors again on May 8. As a social distancing order, the restaurant set up QR codes for patrons to scan and view their menu.

2. A.zeta Kitchen

A.zeta Kitchen is an Italian restaurant in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur that launched on March 17.

Once the lockdown commenced, the restaurant started offering made-to-order takeaways and food deliveries through MrSpeedy.

They also offered customers the option of supporting them by buying gift cards worth RM125 for their food and drinks that would be valid until October.

A.zeta Kitchen opened back up for dine-ins on May 12.

In light of the RMCO, however, their website announced that they will only be serving dine-in customers for dinner from 6:30PM to 11PM.

3. Calia Malaysia

Calia Malaysia is a restaurant-to-retail concept brought over from Melbourne, Australia, and this is its first outlet in Malaysia as well as its first international outlet ever.

It offers a premium casual dining experience and a menu inspired by Spanish, Chilean, Japanese and Chinese cuisine.

Within the first month of its launch on June 19, the restaurant had served almost 12,000 guests in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. 

However, the team revealed that the pandemic did impact their supply of internationally sourced products such as fish, uni and wagyu from Japan.

Hence, they’ve sold out on Wagyu multiple times since operations began. This is only one of several challenges though, and you can read more of their story here.

We also reviewed some of their dishes and desserts on our sister publication in an article you can read here.

4. Coffeeloca

Coffeeloca opened up their store in Banting, Kuala Langat on March 15, just 3 days before MCO. 

They wouldn’t have known how the pandemic would affect them when they began offering a wide variety of savoury and sweet food options with hot and iced drinks.

With the MCO and all of its extensions, the team had to pivot to online deliveries. 

Its founder, Czafrizan Hussin said that one of his biggest lessons was finding a way for the company to survive and keep its employees. Proudly, he revealed that they were able to avoid pay cuts or layoffs.

Since reopening, the growing demand has caused Coffeeloca to expand its team from 4 to 13 employees.

5. La Cucina by Spetta

Menu items featuring its handmade sausages and pasta / Image Credit: La Cucina

La Cucina by Spetta launched on July 17 in Taman Sri Sinar, Kuala Lumpur.

Freshly prepped food with affordable pricing is the restaurant’s key to drawing a customer base.

The restaurant bakes its own bread and makes its own sausages and pasta, which it also conducts classes for.

More than just a restaurant, it’s creating a more community-based space for its customers, which helps increase its brand awareness too.

6. Monroe KL

Monroe KL serving diners / Image Credit: Monroe KL

Monroe KL is a casual dining restaurant serving fusion Asian dishes located inside KLoé hotel in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

The hotel itself opened on March 12, just a week before the MCO.

During the lockdown, Monroe KL halted operations and only welcomed its team back in May.

At the same time, they opened up for dine-in and takeaways, focusing on just their breakfast and lunch menu.

They have since been drawing a large number of patrons to the point of needing to turn diners away due to limited tables under social distancing measures.

7. Moonkissed 

One of the restaurant’s rice bowls / Image Credit: Moonkissed

Moonkissed is a fusion restaurant serving healthy rice and noodle bowls to suit Malaysian taste buds. 

Launched on June 22 in Sea Park, Petaling Jaya, they brand themselves as a healthier version of Malaysian comfort food as their bowls contain no additives and use halal sourced ingredients.

Though it’s only been under 2 months since operations began for dine-ins, Moonkissed already sees steady traffic from regular customers visiting every day.

8. Sushi & Spice by WTF 

Sushi & Spice is a fusion Japanese and Thai restaurant serving vegetarian and vegan sushi.

They’re under the WTF group, which stands for “What Tasty Food”, an Indian vegetarian restaurant. Their soft launch on August 21 in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

Fusing Japanese and Thai cuisines together sounds like an unusual combination, and pair that with limiting themselves to only vegan-friendly food, I’m curious to see how this restaurant does in the upcoming months.

9. TGT In Life

Wine and specialty coffee is served at the restaurant / Image Credit: TGT In Life

TGT In Life stands for “Together In Life”. It’s a restaurant started by its sister cafe, The Roast Things, which has had 6 years of experience as wholesalers for speciality roast coffee.

It launched on the first weekend of March, not long before the MCO, serving sweet and savoury dishes, speciality coffee, and an array of Low Intervention wines served by the glass.

The purpose of serving wines by the glass is to give its patrons a chance to try more than one type of wine without feeling overwhelmed.

Dine-in was once again welcomed as the cafe reopened its doors on May 13 in Tropicana Avenue, Petaling Jaya.

10. Tiffany’s Cafe 

Tiffany’s Cafe is a cafe serving a selection of breakfast and brunch options located in Glenmarie, Shah Alam.

While waiting for the MCO to be lifted, their kitchen opened up for online deliveries on April 29.

The restaurant itself started serving dine-in customers on June 23.

It seems like business has been doing well in the 2 months they’ve been operational, as its investors already have the confidence to soon open a second outlet in Rantau Panjang, Klang.

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While it must have been a disappointing and scary time for those who opened just days before the MCO, they’ve proven their capability to adapt quickly and stay afloat so far.

On the other hand, those who opened in the duration of the MCO to the RMCO must have had a lot of confidence in their game plan.

No doubt many of us may be mourning the loss of some of our favourite restaurants that couldn’t make it through the pandemic.

But on the bright side, we now have these new eateries and more filling up the empty shop lots and offering new delicacies for us to try.

Who knows, maybe we’ll soon find new favourites to be regulars at amongst these.

  • You can read other F&B articles we’ve written here.

Featured Image Credit: Vulcan Post / Monroe KL

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